Trends in the stationery sector are affected by various different factors and as a result, they exhibit different colour palettes – from neutral non-colours through soft pastels to powerfully bright colour mixes. Sustainable and environmentally conscious products, of course, are everywhere nowadays and are therefore to be found in all of today’s themes. From environmentally friendly packaging and new materials that conserve raw materials, through recycled and recyclable writing implements to products that can be used to upcycle other products, the bandwidth is broad.
In stationery, paper is of course a fundamental material. Just now, this material with millennia of history behind it is coming further to the fore. On the one hand, this is a result of environmentally friendly solutions that will conserve the valuable forests; on the other, it is a medium that is currently in high demand for countless creative technologies in the field of DIY. On the writing desk, the neutral colour palette may well be timelessly classic, but in the creative field things are much more colourful.
Durable ring binders, sales folders, document wallets and similar are being produced from certified environmentally friendly paper and with environmentally friendly plastic- and film-free stickers; they are fully recyclable when they reach the end of their service life (Veloflex). The use of film packaging around envelopes is avoided by selling them in an outer envelope – ‘envelope-in-envelope’ – with both made from recycled paper. The envelope’s see-through window is available in a film made of biodegradable cornstarch (Steinmetz Briefumschläge).
At Pur by Pagna, products are made from kraft paper and recycled cardboard in a deliberately natural design. The natural kraft paper is biodegradable, reusable and recyclable. But both new and established materials for paper production, including hemp, for example, are also of increasing importance and can be seen in colouring pads, notebooks and greetings cards (Hempa).
Recycling of a different kind is found in pencils and crayons made entirely – aside from the lead – from recycled newspapers (NewPen) that would otherwise have ended up as waste. In the field of DIY, origami is again in demand: with ‘Foldology’ comes a new fashion for origami puzzles. Home-made paper flowers (Exaclair) are superseding the hype around dried flowers. Strips of paper can also be used for creative quilling and can quickly be woven into ‘utensilos’, or tidy containers, with the right equipment such as a good roller cutter (Schneider Novus) for cutting the paper as required.
The flair of past times is returning to design with renewed vigour. Spurred on by the boom in second-hand shops and flea-markets, the romantic vintage look is gaining in importance again. Products in old-fashioned pastels, nostalgic patterns and shapes from the 50s and earlier decades allow us to plunge into the idyllic surroundings of our parents and grandparents.
With classic calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing follows on from hand-lettering. Instead of a pen with an ink cartridge, a quill pen in turned wood (Online Schreibgeräte) or glass might well be chosen, together with an ink jar (Jacques Herbin). If a fountain pen is employed, it might be in a delicate pale rose colour (Faber-Castell) or other pastel tone. Correspondence is written on high quality paper, embellished with an emblem in sealing-wax (Exaclair).
And ‘vintage nostalgia’ is making inroads into desk space, too, in the form of pastel document folders, for example. These are made in a combination of linen fabric and printed paper, joined together with a classic ornamental seam (Roth). Even highlighter pens are swapping their neon colours for gentler tints in NatureColors (Stabilo). Particularly eyecatching, moreover, are the penholder and paperclip container in the shape of the old ‘Forever T1’ Volkswagen bus and the cult VW beetle as a keyring (Troika).
At home, idyllic or romantic vintage motifs in watercolour style can be painted using the watercolour paintbrush with French binding (da Vinci). Such products not only have a nostalgic look about them but can also include revamped and upcycled products such as old cutlery, given a new look with the use of porcelain crayons (edding).
Powerful colours and lively bright patterns are gaining ground in writing materials etc., lending our everyday household items a joyous and optimistic touch. The world needs more colour to lift the spirits and leave us feeling positive and happy. The central theme is happiness, joie de vivre and high spirits, expressed through colour and pattern.
Children of all ages love bright colours and motifs such as hearts, rainbows and smileys, which adorn not only writing materials but also snack bags, cutlery and bibs (Lässig). Spotted socks in bright and happy colours (Sheepworld) are gifts that are sure to cheer up Mummy and Daddy. While school bags are decorated with colourful mermaids, rockets (Roth) and more, satchels and backpacks display not only flower motifs, palms and graffiti but also trendy bright streaks of colour (Fabrizio).
Pink likewise continues to be an important colour for kids – on notebooks (Online Schreibgeräte), for example. Office desks are brightened up with colour accents on the battery-driven pencil sharpener (Schneider Novus). There is also the drawer unit in bright rainbow colours (Metzger & Mendle) that uses a colour-coded system for sorting documents.
To get the creativity flowing, the STABILO Pen 68 with its novel wedged tip comes in 24 brilliant colours. This pen offers two line thicknesses (1 mm and 5 mm) depending on how it is angled on the sheet, providing additional creative possibilities for colouring. Sets with rather fewer pens, too, such as the Graphic Novel themed set of Goldfaber sketch markers (Faber Castell), shine out in shades of orange, pink, purple and powerful green, whilst paying equal attention to the matter of sustainability. Cases and caps are made of 100% recycled plastic. With permanent acrylic markers (edding), sustainable upcycling ideas can also be put into practice, as these pens are suitable for use on a wide range of different materials.
In the case of school satchels, backpacks, pencil cases, purses, exercise books, notebooks, pens, reusable water bottles and so on, licensed motifs will continue to play an important role, given how children and teenagers love to surround themselves with their idols and heroes.
These include long-running licences such as Harry Potter (C y P Brands Evolution, Grupo Erik Editores and Undercover). Another example is Minions, which will receive an extra push with ‘Despicable Me 4’ when it comes to the big screen in July 2024. It is certainly also worth keeping an eye on ‘Inside Out 2’ – the first in the series, from 2015, ranks as one of the most successful Pixar films. The new film continues to follow Riley and her emotions Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. And in April of next year, the successful ‘Lord of the Rings’ series (Grupo Erik Editores) continues in the form of a new release, ‘The War of the Rohirrim’, with great potential for success. Just finishing its run is the ‘Barbie’ film, which was so remarkably successful that products (Undercover) relating to this pink world will continue to be important for 2024.
It has been apparent for some years that Netflix series are important to product design and licensing. For the 4–10-year target group, the animated children’s series ‘Gabby’s Dollhouse’ (Undercover and C y P Brands Evolution), launched on Netflix in 2021, has been a demonstrable success. The story revolves around 11 year-old Gabby, a girl who enjoys thrilling adventures with her feline friends. Launched this summer was the Netflix live-action film ‘One Piece’ (Grupo Erik Editores) – an animé fantasy adventure series about the Straw Hat Pirates, whom fans have been enjoying for more than 20 years in over 1000 animé episodes and 100 manga volumes. By contrast, ‘Wednesday’ (Grupo Erik Editores) is rather darker but hence also extremely cool. Series 1, which appeared at the end of last year, revolved around the daughter of the Addams Family, who wants to solve a series of murders at her new school, Nevermore Academy. The dark, Goth-like style of the teenager with psychic powers is enchanting teenagers and Series 2 of the successful programme is expected in autumn 2024.
About the author
Gabriela Kaiser has been the owner of the TRENDagentur since 2002, after working 6 years as designer for knitwear. She visits trade fairs as a trend scout and gives lectures there. She advises companies from industry and trade on upcoming trends and writes regularly for various trade magazines.